This research seminar is anchored to the broad-shouldered frame of Amedeo Nazzari (1907-1979), one of the first true leading men to materialize in the Italian film industry. As Giuseppe Gubitosi noted, examining this figure means interrogating Italian identity at large, as the tall, elegant, dark-haired and moustachioed Sardinian was “a product of the history of Italian cinema, of its constant efforts to signify and represent the Italian nation” (1998:15). In fact, over the course of his long career, the prolific actor created an on-screen character who was heroic but human, exceptional yet flawed, sensitive to the seductions of material wealth but ultimately following the straight and narrow path to moral and spiritual fortitude: as Masolino d’Amico argued, “Nazzari was clamorously, ostentatiously but also calmly, a positive character,” with whom Italians continued to identify for decades (in Colasanti and Nicosia 2007:11). This research seminar will examine a selection of films from 1938 to 1943 featuring Nazzari in a leading or supporting role in relation to human im/mobility (physical, social, and mediated), revealing how the roots of Nazzari’s on-screen persona are firmly planted in his Fascist-era work, and how his early career choices reverberated throughout his distinguished filmography.
Alberto Zambenedetti is Assistant Professor in the Department of Italian Studies and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. He is the editor of World Film Locations: Florence (Intellect Books, 2014), of World Film Locations: Cleveland (Intellect Books, 2016), and the co-editor of Federico Fellini. Riprese, riletture, (re)visioni (Franco Cesati Editore, 2016). His scholarship has appeared in journals such as Annali D'Italianistica, Studies in European Cinema, Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, Short Film Studies, The Italianist, Quaderni d’Italianistica, The University of Toronto Quarterly, and Space and Culture. His criticism is posted on Gli Spietati. He has curated the Italian editions of Home (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009), It Seems to Hang On (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2015) and Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016), and contributed essays to the home video releases of Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi, 2016) and Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016). His manuscript project, in contract with Edinburgh University Press, is titled Acting Across Borders: Mobility and Identity in Italian Cinema.
Click here for the full schedule of the 2018-19 Italian Research Seminar.